Insomnia is categorised into 3 types, measured by the length of time you have insomnia for. These types 3 types are transient, acute and chronic insomnia.
Each type of insomnia has its own causes. If you don’t get your insomnia treated, a relatively simple short term insomnia problem can, over time, develop into a more complex long term insomnia problem.
But no matter how long you have had insomnia for or how major the problem is, insomnia can in the vast majority of cases be cured with the right treatment.
By identifying the type of your insomnia, you will be in a much better position to understand what is causing it and what you can do to break the habit.
Take a look at the 3 types of insomnia and try to decide what type of insomnia you have. Identify the root cause and then look it up in the causes of insomnia article to identify the best treatment.
Transient insomnia is insomnia that lasts for a few days to a week. It can be caused by:
- Worry about a future event, a job interview for example
- Stress, maybe from the job you just got from the interview
- A nagging issue such as a relationship problem
- Illness, maybe causing a blocked nose making it harder to get to sleep
- Jet lag, especially from long haul flights
- Sleeping in a new place like a hotel
- Excitement about a holiday
- Different than normal sleep pattern, while on your holiday maybe
All the effects are short term so you should return to your normal sleep once they’ve passed. The best thing to do with transient insomnia is to keep a calm, steady sleep routine and not to worry about getting to sleep. It’s often the worry of trying to get to sleep that gets in the way of sleep. Allow it to happen it to happen at its own, steady pace.
Acute or Short Term Insomnia
This one’s like the above but can last for several weeks. This can be caused by:
- A longer illness, maybe causing frequent nightly toilet visits
- Stressed or upset about a bigger or recurring problem
- Bereavement after the death of someone close to you
While the causes are bigger ones than listed in transient insomnia, they are still fairly short term so your problem should in time disappear.
The best thing you can do if you’re suffering with short term insomnia is to keep to good sleep practices, such as sticking to sleep patterns as best as possible and avoiding stimulants in the evening.
Short term sleep problems are usually caused by temporary changes in your mindset. This may though lead to future problems with your sleep timing. If problems with your timing continue, you may start negatively associating your sleep enviroment with staying awake, creating a cycle of insomnia. This is one of the reasons why it’s always best to cure your insomnia before it has chance to take hold and develop.
This is the big one and one that plagued me for most of my life. Chronic insomnia is essentially long term insomnia, one that can last for months and years. It’s estimated that 1 in 10 people suffer with this type of insomnia, so it’s surprisingly common. At this stage of insomnia, you’re likely to be suffering from a range of sleep deprivation effects, becoming a fraction of the person you could be.
The causes for this type of insomnia are ones that are not short term. This can be down to:
- Bad sleeping environment
- Mistiming your sleep
- Long term health problems
- Long term stress and anxiety
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Along with the types of insomnia, which are measured by how long you have been suffering from difficulty sleeping, insomnia can also be identified by its pattern. Insomnia has 3 patterns, identified by the time of night of you have difficulty sleeping, and is the next article in this series.